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Overview of the magnetic properties experiments on the Mars Exploration Rovers

Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets

By:
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DOI: 10.1029/2008JE003098

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Abstract

The Mars Exploration Rovers have accumulated airborne dust on different types of permanent magnets. Images of these magnets document the dynamics of dust capture and removal over time. The strongly magnetic subset of airborne dust appears dark brown to black in Panoramic Camera (Pancam) images, while the weakly magnetic one is bright red. Images returned by the Microscopic Imager reveal the formation of magnetic chains diagnostic of magnetite-rich grains with substantial magnetization (>8 Am2 kg-1). On the basis of M??ssbauer spectra the dust contains magnetite, olivine, pyroxene, and nanophase oxides in varying proportions, depending on wind regime and landing site. The dust contains a larger amount of ferric iron (Fe3+/Fe tot ??? 0.6) than rocks in the Gusev plains (???0.1-0.2) or average Gusev soil (???0.3). Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer data of the dust show that some of the iron in magnetite is substituted by titanium and chromium. The good correlation of the amount of calcium and sulfur in the dust may be caused by the presence of a calcium sulfate related phase. The overall mineralogical composition points to a basaltic origin of the airborne dust, although some alteration has taken place as indicated by the large degree of oxidation. Copyright 2009 by the American Geophysical Union.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Overview of the magnetic properties experiments on the Mars Exploration Rovers
Series title:
Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets
DOI:
10.1029/2008JE003098
Volume
114
Issue:
6
Year Published:
2009
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets